Understanding the role of facial asymmetry in human face identification

Sinjini Mitra, Nicole A. Lazar, Yanxi Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Face recognition has important applications in forensics (criminal identification) and security (biometric authentication). The problem of face recognition has been extensively studied in the computer vision community, from a variety of perspectives. A relatively new development is the use of facial asymmetry in face recognition, and we present here the results of a statistical investigation of this biometric. We first show how facial asymmetry information can be used to perform three different face recognition tasks-human identification (in the presence of expression variations), classification of faces by expression, and classification of individuals according to sex. Initially, we use a simple classification method, and conduct a feature analysis which shows the particular facial regions that play the dominant role in achieving these three entirely different classification goals. We then pursue human identification under expression changes in greater depth, since this is the most important task from a practical point of view. Two different ways of improving the performance of the simple classifier are then discussed: (i) feature combinations and (ii) the use of resampling techniques (bagging and random subspaces). With these modifications, we succeed in obtaining near perfect classification results on a database of 55 individuals, a statistically significant improvement over the initial results as seen by hypothesis tests of proportions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalStatistics and Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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